Does Fighting Disqualify An Employee From Receiving Unemployment Benefits In Maryland?

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Many people who contact me to challenge the denial of their unemployment benefits are pleasantly surprised to learn that even though they’ve been found to have engaged in gross misconduct because they got into an altercation with their supervisor, they may still be entitled to unemployment benefits.

The reason is simple — when a hearing examiner conducts an appeal, the examiner must determine if the employee engaged in gross misconduct, simple misconduct or no misconduct, and therefore the examiner analyzes several different factors, such as whether the employee initiated the altercation or was provoked by the supervisor, whether the employee used profanity, and if so, whether the supervisor used profanity, whether the employee made any threatening statements or yelled at the supervisor, whether the altercation occurred in view of customers, and whether the altercation was disruptive.

If the answers to these questions are negative; in other words, if the employee did not start the fight, if the employee did not use any profanity or threatening language, if the altercation took place out of sight of customers and if the altercation was not disruptive, then the employee may be entitled to unemployment benefits — even though the employee was involved in an altercation with a manager.

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